Range And Population Of Bison In The United States
The American Bison once roamed in the millions across the vast prairies of the Great Plains. More commonly known as the buffalo, these animals were the source of life for many Native American tribes. The bison was used as a food source, and their hides were used for blankets and clothing.
When white settlers arrived on the Great Plains, the wholesale slaughter of the bison began. So many bison were slaughtered that the species was on the brink of extinction.
Over the years, bison became popular food animals again, and ranchers began raising them in the west. However, these are not considered wild animals. According to wildlife scientists, there are only about 15,000 truly wild bison left in the United States and Canada. Their range is limited to isolated pockets in the western portions of these two countries.
Currently, significant herds of wild bison are located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Wind River National Park in South Dakota and in some smaller herds in Montana and Utah. Canada has herds in Saskatchewan, MacKenzie Bison Sanctuary in the Northwest Territories and in the Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta.